Background: The aim of the study was to focus on aspects of the decision-making process among women having first and repeat abortion, in comparison with women continuing their pregnancies with or without having experienced abortions.
Methods: In a study of 401 pregnant women, (simple random sample) 20-29 years of age, 137 having first abortion (A1), 64 repeat abortion (A2), 142 continuing their pregnancies with no experience of abortion (B1) and 58 continuing, having experienced abortion(s) (B2), were given a questionnaire and were interviewed.
Results: The pregnancy evoked ambivalent feelings in all groups. One third of the women in the A-groups and about 25% of those in the B-groups had ambivalent feelings. More than half of the women decided to have an abortion upon first finding out they were pregnant, and after a few weeks of thought most of them had decided to have the abortion. More than half of the women having an abortion said it was rather or very difficult to make a decision. Among these subjects, women having had contact with social services found it significantly harder to make this decision. A majority agreed with their partners on having an abortion. A majority did not feel influenced by someone else when deciding about the abortion. However, 10% in the A1-group and 6% in the A2-group felt much or comparatively much influenced by someone else.
Conclusions: Counselling seems to be important among a considerable number of women finding it hard to make a decision about abortion. Special attention is required for women feeling influenced by someone else and/or having pronounced social problems.